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Author Topic: What if I owned 1.234;567;89 BTC instead of 1.23456789 BTC?  (Read 7072 times)
GOB
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September 02, 2013, 03:03:45 PM
 #1

Having a currency with 8 decimals is fantastic, but it can and does lead to confusion. Couldn't we use the same concept we use to the left of the decimal point (i.e. $1,000,000.00) for the right side of the decimal point (i.e. BTC0.000,001  or 123.456,789 BTC)?

I know this is not how numeral notation traditionally works. But perhaps that's because there hasn't been a need before. Well, now we do have a need with Bitcoin. (Or maybe I'm the only one who has accidentally bet 10 or 100 times more than I intended to on just-dice!  Smiley )

My questions are:

1) Do you think this is a good idea?

2) Is it possible to code in a simple way to display numbers like this? Or would it be a clusterfuck?


PS: If this has been addressed, or you think it's a very stupid idea, please be gentle. I couldn't find a discussion on this.


EDIT: Further down in this thread I settle on using semi-colon as the separator (i.e. 1.234;567;89), because using commas could easily be confusing. Here is the text above re-written taking into account the new semi-colon concept:

Having a currency with 8 decimals is fantastic, but it can and does lead to confusion. Couldn't we use the same concept of thousands separators we use to the left of the decimal point (i.e. $1,000,000.00) for the right side of the decimal point using a new symbol, the semi-colon? (i.e. BTC0.000;001  or 123.456;789 BTC)?

I know this is not how numeral notation traditionally works. But perhaps that's because there hasn't been a need before. Well, now we do have a need with Bitcoin. (Or maybe I'm the only one who has accidentally bet 10 or 100 times more than I intended to on just-dice!  Smiley )

My questions are:

1) Do you think this is a good idea?

2) Is it possible to code in a simple way to display numbers like this? Or would it be a clusterfuck?


PS: If this has been addressed, or you think it's a very stupid idea, please be gentle. I couldn't find a discussion on this.

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September 02, 2013, 03:52:12 PM
 #2

I know that Satoshi once said this:

Eventually at most only 21 million coins for 6.8 billion people in the world if it really gets huge.

But don't worry, there are another 6 decimal places that aren't shown, for a total of 8 decimal places internally.  It shows 1.00 but internally it's 1.00000000.  If there's massive deflation in the future, the software could show more decimal places.

If it gets tiresome working with small numbers, we could change where the display shows the decimal point.  Same amount of money, just different convention for where the ","'s and "."'s go.  e.g. moving the decimal place 3 places would mean if you had 1.00000 before, now it shows it as 1,000.00.

Which does not really answer your question directly, but I guess shows that the situation we are approaching was convieved during the design of the protocol, which means it should be possible to move the decimal place altogether at some point in the future (although i am not a programmer).

21 billion millibitcoins is the same as 21 million bitcoins after all (a US billion that is).

This has been discussed before though, google custom search is your friend here...

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September 02, 2013, 04:42:45 PM
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I know that Satoshi once said this:

Eventually at most only 21 million coins for 6.8 billion people in the world if it really gets huge.

But don't worry, there are another 6 decimal places that aren't shown, for a total of 8 decimal places internally.  It shows 1.00 but internally it's 1.00000000.  If there's massive deflation in the future, the software could show more decimal places.

If it gets tiresome working with small numbers, we could change where the display shows the decimal point.  Same amount of money, just different convention for where the ","'s and "."'s go.  e.g. moving the decimal place 3 places would mean if you had 1.00000 before, now it shows it as 1,000.00.

Which does not really answer your question directly, but I guess shows that the situation we are approaching was convieved during the design of the protocol, which means it should be possible to move the decimal place altogether at some point in the future (although i am not a programmer).

21 billion millibitcoins is the same as 21 million bitcoins after all (a US billion that is).

This has been discussed before though, google custom search is your friend here...

yeah, I figured I might get a lmgtfy (although searching "commas" and "decimal", returns a lot of pages about how some countries use commas instead of points, etc.).

As for your comment, I totally understand. I am all for switching to speaking of mBTC or µBTC, in which case 0.001 BTC becomes 1 mBTC, which is 13 US cents. However, what I mean is that when one IS writing a number in BTC, changing the convention to adding "thousands" commas to the right of the decimal point just as one would do on the left. Here's wikipedia on digit grouping:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decimal_mark#Digit_grouping

It mentions in passing digit grouping "before or after the decimal mark", but doesn't go much further than that.

I'll also paste this here while I'm at it:

http://math.stackexchange.com/questions/182775/convention-of-digit-grouping-after-decimal-point

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September 02, 2013, 05:56:30 PM
 #4

There are various different conventions used currently for the decimal point separator and thousands separator.

For instance: one thousand, two hundred and thirty four and a half is written:

English:     1,234.5

Spanish:    1.234,5
German (in Germany): 1.234,5

German (in Switzerland): 1,234.5

Russia, France: 1 234,5

I am sure there are other combinations I am unaware of.
If you have separators after the decimal place you'll encounter more ambiguity than there already is.

For instance "one bitcoin and two thousand, three hundred and forty five 10,000ths of a bitcoin" using the convention you suggest:
a Spaniard would write: 1,234.5
an English person would write: 1.234,5

Compare to the figures above and you can see the prospect for confusion.

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September 02, 2013, 08:34:19 PM
 #5

If you have separators after the decimal place you'll encounter more ambiguity than there already is.

For instance "one bitcoin and two thousand, three hundred and forty five 10,000ths of a bitcoin" using the convention you suggest:
a Spaniard would write: 1,234.5
an English person would write: 1.234,5

Compare to the figures above and you can see the prospect for confusion.

Good point.... You're absolutely right. I hadn't realized how completely ambiguous it would make everything.

So using the same thousands separator (comma in english, period in spanish) is out. Perhaps another convention is in order then. Because the problem remains-- in the Bitcoin world, when speaking of the native currency (BTC, not mBTC, nor µBTC, etc.), we will mostly "be" on the right side of the decimal.

Any proposals?

What about a semicolon? ;?

1.23456789 BTC (1,23456789 in Spanish) becomes 1.234;567;89 (1,234;567;89 in Spanish)

Other symbols could be apostrophe ' (though this would cause confusion with minutes), ^, (space), _ , -

The idea would be to come up with a symbol that could be dropped in to various cultures' conventions without ambiguity.

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September 03, 2013, 05:22:56 AM
 #6

I like the space. I have 1.234 567 89 Bitcoins. Doesn't cause much confusion, maybe just a little bit. But you could also group them into twos. Like, I have 1.23 45 67 89 Bitcoins.

Personally, I just count the digits and stick to what it is now, which is 1.23456789.

Then again, we have pi shown often as:
3.1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 6939937510 5820974944 5923078164 0628620899 8628034825 3421170679 ...

or

3.14159 26535 89793 23846 26433 83279 50288 41971 69399 3751 05820 97494 45923 07816 40628 62089 98628 03482 53421 17067 9 ...

I think for bitcoin, 4 digit separations should be okay. I have 3.1415 9265 BTC, doesn't look too confusing.

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September 12, 2013, 01:23:47 PM
 #7

If you have a need or reason to specify the bitcoin value to 8 decimal places. . .  Don't.

Instead, specify it in microbitcoin and use digit grouping separators on the left side of the decimal indicator.  Problem solved.

1.23456789 bitcoins can (should?) be written in the U.S. as:

1,234,567.89 microbitcoin

No confusion on the right side of the decimal separator, and region expected grouping on the left.

Better yet, use nanobitcoin and eliminate the decimal indicator entirely:

1,234,567,890 nanobitcoin

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September 12, 2013, 11:40:54 PM
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People already use "satoshi". At least that's the chatter I see on dice sites.

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September 13, 2013, 08:15:17 PM
 #9

If you have a need or reason to specify the bitcoin value to 8 decimal places. . .  Don't.

Instead, specify it in microbitcoin and use digit grouping separators on the left side of the decimal indicator.  Problem solved.

1.23456789 bitcoins can (should?) be written in the U.S. as:

1,234,567.89 microbitcoin

No confusion on the right side of the decimal separator, and region expected grouping on the left.

Better yet, use nanobitcoin and eliminate the decimal indicator entirely:

1,234,567,890 nanobitcoin

I agree, except I don't agree with calling it nanobitcoins because nano means 10^-9, but bitcoin is subdivisible to 10^-8, which are called Satoshi, like dabs said.

However, while I agree that denominating everything in satoshi eliminates the decimal dilemma, the fact is many times (most times) we are talking talking about BTC, and while three of four significant figures are all that really matter, the reality is people usually write out the full precise number. For example, the other day someone wanted me to transfer $1 worth of bitcoin to him. So he calculated 1/122.89= 0.00813735 BTC. Obviously, these are very small amounts, and 5 satoshi more or 5 satoshi less doesn't matter, but that's what the calculator spit out for the value of $1, so that's what we were gonna transfer. But as he's telling me this number it becomes a little difficult to ensure that you wrote it correctly when it's

0.00813735 BTC

vs.

0.008 137 35 BTC

or

0.008;137;35 BTC

Just like a comma separators make it easy to read out loud (or interpret quickly in your head) that

45230620440 is

45,230,620,440 or approx 45 billion, which is not instantly obvious above.

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September 13, 2013, 08:50:30 PM
 #10

How about trying something new like....

1.234,,567,,89

Or

1.234;456;78

Display as Bitcoin Satoshis

BS12,345,678

Although BS might make too many of us giggle so...

SB12,345,678

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September 14, 2013, 04:36:28 AM
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Looks too much like SoB.

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September 14, 2013, 05:06:24 AM
 #12

sounds like someone has a little bitcoin envy and wishes that their balance would pass .99   Cry Cry Cry you hold a dear place in my heart next to 'sad keanu' poor keanu...

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September 14, 2013, 11:39:09 PM
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How about trying something new like....

1.234,,567,,89

Or

1.234;456;78

Display as Bitcoin Satoshis

BS12,345,678

Although BS might make too many of us giggle so...

SB12,345,678

The double commas (or double periods in the case of decimal commas) could work. As for BS/SB, I agree that it would be cool to have a symbol for Satoshi. $ is out, and SB/BS might be a bit confusing. Maybe a double crossed T, or H? (a double crossed A was the symbol for Australes, Argentina's hyper-inflationary currency in the 80s).

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September 14, 2013, 11:44:58 PM
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sounds like someone has a little bitcoin envy and wishes that their balance would pass .99   Cry Cry Cry you hold a dear place in my heart next to 'sad keanu' poor keanu...

I don't understand this comment (I'm being sincere). Was it meant for me, the OP?

While I think my original comment is more directed at making it easier to read bitcoin numbers with many digits, it is true that as Bitcoin appreciates (as I think we all hope it will), more and more Bitcoin figures (whether it be your personal balance or just the transactions you deal with) will be in tenths, hundredths, thousandths, etc., of Bitcoin, and it would be nice to have a convention already laid out to make it more welcoming and easier to read.

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September 15, 2013, 05:03:33 AM
 #15

would displaying the groups of digits in slightly different shades help and be less confusing than symbols?  e.g. black and dark grey in groups of 3?

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September 15, 2013, 07:55:45 AM
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I've seen people call satoshis as sats. And thousands of satoshis as ksats. But I've only seen it on one dice site chat room. "Hey, I bet 65ksats and won 130ksats!"

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September 15, 2013, 08:23:46 AM
 #17

What about a display that automatically chooses BTC, mBTC, µBTC with lowest non-zero value left of the decimal separator ?
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September 18, 2013, 02:36:40 PM
 #18

would displaying the groups of digits in slightly different shades help and be less confusing than symbols?  e.g. black and dark grey in groups of 3?

What about a display that automatically chooses BTC, mBTC, µBTC with lowest non-zero value left of the decimal separator ?

I think these are both great options if you are creating a website or something like that. Kinda like how inputs.io makes all figures after two decimal places super script, like this:

1.2345678

Another option would be spaces.

However, I still think a sort of universally applicable system would be useful and needed, and the more I think about it, the more I like using a semicolon ";". I think it's elegant, it's unambiguous in both decimal-period and decimal-comma contexts. I think it makes sense as it uses two symbols that are already in use (a , and a .).

I dunno, I like it. It's growing on me. My original idea of using comma (, or period .) delimiters to the right of the decimal place (. or , respectively), was deeply flawed, as was pointed out by jim618:

For instance "one bitcoin and two thousand, three hundred and forty five 10,000ths of a bitcoin" using the convention you suggest:
a Spaniard would write: 1,234.5
an English person would write: 1.234,5

Compare to the figures above and you can see the prospect for confusion.

Which is why I changed the title of the post to "What if I owned 1.234;567;89 BTC instead of 1.23456789 BTC?" instead of "What if I owned 1.234,567,89 BTC instead of 1.23456789 BTC?"

Thoughts?

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September 18, 2013, 02:38:14 PM
 #19

I've seen people call satoshis as sats. And thousands of satoshis as ksats. But I've only seen it on one dice site chat room. "Hey, I bet 65ksats and won 130ksats!"

I think that's a good way to communicate if you are already speaking in the context of satoshi. I like it.

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September 19, 2013, 12:21:23 AM
 #20

I say thats a very good idea, the best option would be to use semi colons instead of extra points as peopl could mistake that for commas.
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